11/06/04 - News section

I stand by claims, says Clark murder slur doctor

A senior paediatrician said today he still believed the husband of cleared solicitor Sally Clark had murdered their two children.

Professor David Southall said he stood by an accusation he made about Steve Clark after watching a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary about the case.

Asked by Richard Tyson, for the General Medical Council, sitting in Manchester, if he still believed that Stephen Clark had killed both Clark's children, he replied "yes".

Prof Southall, 55, watched the documentary on April 27, 2000, and contacted police the next day. He told detectives that Mr Clark's description of a nosebleed suffered by his first son Christopher led him to believe that there had been a suffocation attempt.

He talked to people involved in the original case and concluded in a report he wrote on the Clark family in August 2000 that it was extremely likely, if not certain, that Mr Clark must have suffocated Christopher.

Subsequent deaths

Today, he said: "I felt that the information I had on the bleeding nose incident indicated that Mr Clark had done it and therefore that the two subsequent deaths had been done by Mr Clark."

He told the GMC he still stood by his claims. Prof Southall faces a charge of serious professional misconduct, which he denies.

Sally Clark was convicted in 1999 of murdering her children, but cleared by the Court of Appeal in January 2003.

She was charged with the murders in July 1998 after both she and her husband had been arrested on suspicion of murder.

In November 1998, the couple's third child was born and was taken into the care of foster parents, but was later returned to his father.

Case reinvestigation

Today, Prof Southall told the GMC he had been worried for the safety of the Clarks' third child and had wanted the case to be reinvestigated.

"I felt it needed to be re-examined in light of the new slant, what I considered to be the new slant, that I was bringing."

He told the GMC he was concerned that police had not checked Mr Clark's alibi on the night Christopher died in 1996.

He was told at the time that Christopher's death had been put down to natural causes.

"I felt that notwithstanding the considerable time that had elapsed, the police should in my opinion have looked much harder into the issue of when Sally was supposed to have been alone in the first baby's death by talking to the people who had been with Mr Clark at the party by interviewing Mr Clark again about this."

He told the GMC he was concerned for the welfare of the third child and action being taken.

"Although I was expressing serious concerns about the baby, delays were occurring on something happening, to look at the question of protection, just to look at it."



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